The average cost of a car accident amounts to more than £400, according to new research published this week.

A study by leading price comparison website MoneySuperMarket combined the results of a poll of 2,000 UK drivers with its own internal data to reach the conclusion that the “true cost” of an accident is £415. That’s almost as much as the average annual insurance premium quote, which comes in at £459.

According to MoneySuperMarket, more than a third (37 percent) of drivers have been involved in an accident at some point in the last five years. A fifth of those (19 percent) said they paid up to £100 in repairs and any associated insurance costs on top of their policy, while a quarter (24 percent) said they paid between £201 and £400. An unfortunate 10 percent, though, spent between £801 and £1,000.

The survey revealed the most common repairs were to paintwork (45 percent), bumpers (39 percent) and lights (29 percent).

Van collisison damage being repaired in body shop

Despite the costs involved in crashes, 25 percent of the drivers who had been involved in an accident said they hadn’t claimed on their insurance. MoneySuperMarket’s analysis of more than 14 million insurance enquiries revealed that medics are the most likely to make claims. More than a quarter (28 percent) of enquiries made by psychiatrists included a claim, followed by general practitioners (27 percent) and paediatricians (26 percent).

At the opposite end of the scale, young drivers — who tend to have higher insurance premiums anyway — were the least likely to claim. Just four percent of enquiries from drivers aged 17 to 19 included a claim. However, among drivers aged 25 to 29, that number shot up to 16 percent.

Woman after a car accident making a phone call

Dave Merrick, car insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said some drivers might have been put off claiming by the increased cost of insurance after a claim.

“Our research shows that claiming after an accident could potentially add £69 to your premium, which may explain why a quarter of drivers who have an accident do not make a claim to their insurer,” he said. “In some cases, it can be more cost-efficient to make a claim rather than paying for the costs yourself. Whatever you decide, you should always let you insurer know. Most policies will have a clause that requires you to declare any incidents, regardless of who is at fault. Failing to do so could invalidate your policy.

Signing an insurance policy

“It’s really important that you choose the right level of cover for your needs, as an accident can happen anywhere at any time. The most popular policy type is fully comprehensive, not only because it covers drivers for the widest range of eventualities, but also because it tends to work out as the cheapest type of cover, with the average policy costing £459.

“If you want to save money on your car insurance, don’t let your policy automatically renew without looking around for a better deal first. Shop around - you could save up to £270.”

Car insurance internet site viewing on laptop